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The Winter 2018 Book Room

When all of your relationships are terribly unpleasant, do you ever stop to ask yourself, “is it me?” In her debut short story collection, poet Catriona Wright uses the ordinary lives of siblings, co-workers, friends and romantic partners to reveal that we are all, at times, Difficult People (Nightwood). Of Wright’s twelve stories, it is the fourth, “The Emilies,” which best illustrates her poignant, shifting style. The protagonist, Emily, is shy, neurotic, and painfully desperate for friends at her new job. Emily is elated when her frosty co-worker Lydia asks that she bring her to an abortion clinic, mistaking favour for friendship. After the procedure, Emily “hugs and hugs” Lydia while the other woman’s “hands hang by her sides.” It may seem at first that Lydia is the difficult one, but as the reader begins to understand Emily’s clingy nature, Lydia’s coldness doesn’t seem so ...

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